Air quality in Delhi and neighbouring areas deteriorated on Sunday, with most parts recording a "severe or severe-plus" level of pollution while the air in Faridabad in Haryana was 21 times more polluted than safety standards.
According to the Central Pollution Control Board's (CPCB) monitoring station, the major effluent PM2.5 or particles with diameter less than 2.5mm was 1,515 microgrammes per cubic metres at 10 a.m., which dropped to 1,295 units by 3 p.m. and 1,290 units by 6 p.m. in Faridabad.
While the Air Quality Index (AQI) of Delhi was 366 on a scale of 0 to 500, considered "very-poor", the same was 415 in Ghaziabad and 403 in Gurugram -- both signifying "severe".
In Greated Noida, the AQI was 362, considered "very-poor".
Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh had the worst air quality across India, with AQI of 420 - considered "severe".
According to CPCB, the severe AQI affects even healthy people, while it seriously impacts those with existing diseases. The "very-poor" AQI affects healty people on prolonged exposure.
The average concentration of PM2.5 and PM10 in Delhi were 217 and 402 units, while in NCR they were 236 and 394 units.
The safe limit for PM2.5, the finer particles which penetrate deeper into the lungs, are 60 units as per national standards and 25 units according to the international standards.
For Faridabad, the officials, however, believed that the data during the morning hours must be "some kind of a technical glitch".
"There is only one monitoring station in Faridabad, and the town is not as polluted as Delhi is. This sudden spike must be wrong. 1,515 units is too high a concentration," an official from the Haryana State Pollution Control Board told IANS.
Meanwhile, 12 out of 36 regions in Delhi, where air pollution is monitored, had a "severe or severe-plus" air quality, consistent since Sunday morning to 6 p.m.
A total 22 areas of Delhi had a "very-poor" air quality. Only two out of 36 areas monitored had "moderate to poor" air quality.
Out of 48 monitored station across NCR (including Delhi), only four had "moderate to poor" air quality while 18 stations has "severe or severe-plus" air quality and 26 were "very-poor".
Among the most polluted regions in Delhi were Dwarka, Anand Vihar, Rohini, Mundaka, Bawana, Mathura Raod, Delhi Technical University, Jahangirpuri, Narela, Nehru Nagar, Delhi University North Campus, Punjabi Bagh, R.K. Puram, Sonia Vihar, Vivek Vihar and Wazirpur.
In NCR, Bulandshahr, Ghaziabad and Sector 125 Noida in Uttar Pradesh as well as Faridabad and Gurugram in Haryana had "severe-plus" air quality.
According to CPCB, the situation may continue till Diwali, and pollution may only get worse after that.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)